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E.g., 11/21/2018
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  • News

    How Twitter bots get people to spread fake news

    To spread misinformation like wildfire, bots will strike a match on social media but then urge people to fan the flames.

    Automated Twitter accounts, called bots, helped spread bogus articles during and after the 2016 U.S. presidential election by making the content appear popular enough that human users would trust it and share it more widely, researchers report online November 20 in...

    11/20/2018 - 11:00 Robotics, Science & Society
  • News in Brief

    NASA’s Mars 2020 rover will look for ancient life in a former river delta

    The next NASA Mars rover will hunt for signs of ancient life in what used to be a river delta, the agency announced on November 19.

    The rover is expected to launch in July 2020 and to land on Mars around February 18, 2021. It will seek out signs of past life in the sediments and sands of Jezero crater, which was once home to a 250-meter-deep lake and a river delta that flowed into the...

    11/19/2018 - 15:36 Planetary Science, Astrobiology
  • News

    Tiny satellites will relay news of InSight’s Mars landing in minutes, not hours

    The next spacecraft set to land on Mars is bringing its own communications team. InSight, a lander scheduled to touch down on the Red Planet on November 26, is accompanied by a pair of briefcase-sized spacecraft that will send details of the landing to Earth in almost real time.

    The twin craft on this mission are CubeSats — tiny, inexpensive satellites that are easy to build and launch....

    11/18/2018 - 07:00 Planetary Science
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    11/16/2018 - 22:14
  • News

    Astronomers spot another star that flickers like Tabby’s star

    There’s another oddly flickering star in the galaxy.

    Astronomers using a telescope in Chile have discovered a star whose strange dimming and brightening of light are reminiscent of Tabby’s star, which was once suggested to host an alien megastructure.

    The megastructure idea, first posited in 2015, was later quashed by data suggesting that the dips are probably from dust particles...

    11/16/2018 - 10:14 Astronomy, Planetary Science
  • News

    Coffee or tea? Your preference may be written in your DNA

    Whether people prefer coffee or tea may boil down to a matter of taste genetics.

    People with a version of a gene that increases sensitivity to the bitter flavor of caffeine tend to be coffee drinkers, researchers report online November 15 in Scientific Reports. Tea drinkers tended to be less sensitive to caffeine’s bitter taste, but have versions of genes that increase sensitivity to the...

    11/15/2018 - 09:00 Genetics, Nutrition
  • News

    Skull damage suggests Neandertals led no more violent lives than humans

    Neandertals are shaking off their reputation as head bangers.

    Our close evolutionary cousins experienced plenty of head injuries, but no more so than late Stone Age humans did, a study suggests. Rates of fractures and other bone damage in a large sample of Neandertal and ancient Homo sapiens skulls roughly match rates previously reported for human foragers and farmers who have lived...

    11/14/2018 - 13:00 Anthropology, Human Evolution
  • Feature

    How mammoths competed with other animals and lost

    The Gray Fossil Site, a sinkhole in northeastern Tennessee, is full of prehistoric treasures. Between 7 million and 4.5 million years ago, rhinoceroses, saber-toothed cats and other creatures, even red pandas, perished here by the edge of a pond. But that bounty of fossils pales next to the site’s biggest find: a mastodon’s skeleton, nearly 5 million years old, preserved in exquisite detail...

    11/13/2018 - 12:30 Ecosystems, Archaeology, Paleontology
  • News

    China is about to visit uncharted territory on the moon

    China is about to make space history. In December, the country will launch the first spacecraft ever to land on the farside of the moon. Another craft, slated for takeoff in 2019, will be the first to bring lunar rocks back to Earth since 1976.

    These two missions — the latest in China’s lunar exploration series named after the Chinese moon goddess, Chang’e — are at the forefront of...

    11/11/2018 - 07:00 Planetary Science
  • Say What?

    These tiny, crackly bubbles are a new type of volcanic ash

    Bread-crust bubble\Bred krəst ˈbəb(ə)l\ n.

    Tiny, gas-filled beads of volcanic ash with a scaly surface.

    Scientists have identified a new type of volcanic ash that erupted from a volcano in central Oregon roughly 7 million years ago. The particles are similar to larger bread-crust bombs, which form as gases trapped inside globs of lava expand, cracking the bombs’ tough exterior. Bread-...

    11/09/2018 - 12:00 Earth